It’s no secret that technology is transforming fans’ relationship with sport, from Fantasy Football to in-play betting, and Sporting Mouth’s John Owrid believes the rise of social apps will take this to much more intimate and tribal level.
Personalisation is on pretty much every summary of marketing trends for 2016, driven by a demand from consumers for a more tailored experience from brands.
Social media and mobile devices allow people to take their world with them wherever they go and interact with it whenever they want. And if brands want to be part of this world they need to operate in the same social on-the-go way, delivering messages that aren’t generic but specific to their particular preferences, which is why a new generation of mobile apps is opening the door for brands to get personal with fans, creating a more tailored experience, driving interaction and even adding value by introducing a gaming element.
Naturally this trend isn’t confined to sport. Insurer Aviva has launched an app that not only assesses how safe a driver you are, which can personally affect your premium, but also allows you to compare your score with your family members so you compete to be the safest. So here you have an insurance company investing in its customers’ safety, helping them save money, and also making safe driving fun – surely more effective than paying millions for a prime-time TV ad.
The same sort of technology also has the potential to transform the rather staid world of sports sponsorship. Apps are being developed, for example, that allow brands to put their names behind creating a more immersive, exciting and fun experience for football fans, rather than simply being allowed to display their logo during a match.
Whilst only a minority of fans attend sporting events, they are keen to be involved in the action by proxy, which is where mobile scores highly. Apps are being developed that use gaming techniques to get people competing against each other to see, for example, to prove who is the best pundit by predicting the result, scorers and other in-game outcomes.
As well as allowing fans to gauge themselves against each other and engage with the global sporting community, these apps also pander to their tribal instincts, letting them set up closed social groups so they can express themselves as freely as they want among their friend networks. Adding to the fun, fans can make social wagers with friends, betting items, like packs of beer, rather than money. The app controls the wager, with the loser footing the bill for the ale and the app manager dispatching the goods to the winner. Safe, secure and relying on friendship as the bond of trust and as refreshing as cracking open a bottle that you’ve just won!
Such apps provide brands with the chance to drive the fan conversation and heighten engagement, taking fans closer to the action and brands closer to the fans. And for tournaments like the upcoming UEFA European Championships, they offer a far more creative and effective option to official sponsorship channels.
By John Owrid
John Owrid is Chairman of social game developer Sporting Mouth, soon to release the EuroPundit 2016 app or fans during this year’s European Championships.